Man pleads guilty to drug delivery

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, September 15, 2018

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On the second day of his trial for manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance – and facing a possible punishment of up to life in prison – 24-year-old Christopher Laron Hall decided to plead guilty in exchange for a 12-year prison sentence.

Christopher Laron Hall

The Vernon resident was arrested July 27 of last year on two counts of manufacturing/delivering a controlled substance 4 to 200 grams. Both counts are first degree felony offenses.

Hall was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by Decatur Police officer Logan Fry for a traffic violation. Fry testified that while he was talking to Hall and the driver, Hall’s cousin, Kevin Bailey, he noticed Bailey apparently reaching for something in the back seat.

Both were ordered out of the car, and a records check revealed both had warrants out for their arrest. Hall’s outstanding warrant was for jaywalking.

Bailey and Hall were arrested on the outstanding warrants. Officer Jade Jaramillo testified that during an inventory of the car, she located a baggie of suspected drugs in the floorboard behind the driver’s seat. That discovery led to a probable cause search of the vehicle.

When officers opened the trunk, they found more baggies containing suspected methamphetamine and cocaine, possible drug paraphernalia and a handgun. A title to the car was also found in the trunk showing that Hall owned the vehicle.

Hall’s attorney, Bruce Isaacks, argued that the baggie found behind where Bailey was sitting – and likely what Bailey was reaching for during the traffic stop – was almost identical to the baggies found in the trunk. During his opening argument, Isaacks said the evidence didn’t link his client to the drugs found in the trunk.

“None of the methamphetamine or cocaine had my client’s fingerprints on them,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Berry said in his opening statements that Hall’s fingerprints were found on some of the drug paraphernalia found in the trunk, which indicated he was in possession of the items.

On Wednesday morning, as officer Christina Schwabe was testifying about lifting the fingerprints from the items taken into evidence, Hall told Isaacks he wanted to accept the state’s plea offer of 12 years in prison. Once District Judge Brock Smith accepted the plea, he sentenced Hall to the 12-year sentence and the jury was dismissed.

Court records show that in April, Bailey pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony charge of tampering/fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

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